Leeds United: Off the field problems should be no excuse - Gray

PAINFUL: Leeds United's Danny Pugh and Sam Byram show their agony after Doncaster Rovers score their second goal on Saturday. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
PAINFUL: Leeds United's Danny Pugh and Sam Byram show their agony after Doncaster Rovers score their second goal on Saturday. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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I KNOW there are all the troubles at our club, but to me, you can keep harping on about it and it becomes a major excuse for the players.

Everyone knows the issues. But it’s been going on a while.

To me, the situation shouldn’t bother the players. It should be a welcome relief for them to play a game of football.

I know Brian has a different viewpoint and everyone has their own ideas. But to me players go out and play football.

People go to work, are stressed five days a week and go out to play Sunday football to relax. Yes, I know it’s difficult, but a game of football should be a relief to our players.

Fair play to the players for deferring their wages. They took the right decision.

But the thing about it all is that they are not performing well.

This sort of thing hasn’t happened for the past five or six weeks. We haven’t really been playing that well since the start of the season.

It’s been up and down and I can’t really remember the last time we put two 45 minutes together.

Our biggest problem recently has been controlling and passing the ball. What has that got to do with finances?

Yes, it’s difficult for players. But they have got to live with that and rise above that. I know there was the wage issues this week, but that wasn’t the case weeks and weeks ago. You cannot just blame Saturday’s display on that or on any game.

We are just not playing well enough. That’s the be-all and end-all.

It’s difficult for Brian. As a manager, he will see the overall picture of the football club. But for the players, it’s different. It’s all just about playing.

Looking at the Doncaster game, it was a spirited second-half performance. But I said to Brian – and he agreed with me when I spoke to him after the game – that it’s a lot easier to play when you are down and the pressure is off.

The fans aren’t expecting anything when you are getting beat 2-0 and not playing well.

It was easier for the players to come out and huff and puff in the second half. But even then, more of our good pressure was through long balls into the box and crosses to Matt Smith, who is doing well.

The two people in the side who you can look at and not criticise are the two strikers. Ross is still scoring and Matt is also doing his fair share.

Looking through the rest of the side, for a start, we are conceding too many goals.

You can’t just blame the defenders for that, but people all over the pitch with players not picking up runners and midfielders not tracking back. Look at the Bournemouth game when their right-back was involved in all four goals.

As a unit, we were second-best against Doncaster. In the first half, we just weren’t in the game. Ok, we were better in the second half, but, to me, that didn’t mean a lot. You have to do it from the start of the game and dominate teams for 90 minutes, which hasn’t happened this season.

Why was the second half better than the first when the expectation levels were there? At the start, we never rose to the occasion. The nature of football is living with pressure and you have to handle that.

Brian changed the midfield in the second half and it did look better.

But the only thing was that it wasn’t at the start of the game.

You would presume Michael Tonge and Alex Mowatt will start the game against Charlton on Tuesday. That would be my assessment and we will see how they go from the start of the game. That’s when it counts.

Looking at things, if the worst came to the worst and the club did go into administration, we will then be in a relegation battle potentially, a serious battle.

David Haigh says that won’t happen, so hopefully we can push on.

Let’s just hope something happened at this meeting today and it works out in the football club’s favour. It is important.

The club are haemorrhaging money, there’s no doubt about that when you look at the loans they have had to get to pay the wages and different things.

I do feel for Brian now. But by the same token, we should be getting results against teams like Doncaster. You have to hold your hands up and say that.

Leeds United director of football Victor Orta. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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